by Sophie Robertson
Sophie spent a week with us as part of the placement of her study at A-level Art & Design at Yeovil College. Here is her account of the week.
Had a zoom call discussion with Natasha Rand at 9am and again at 1pm for approx an hour each.
I learnt about the origins of Yeovil Art Space, looked at the website and did some research about Yeovil creatives and the artist’s work.
We discussed the possibility of summer school for kids. How many placements, the dates it’s running and the ages of the customers.
We discussed possible topics and I mentioned I like portraiture and I brainstormed my ideas of what to include in a session about portraiture; questions I would ask, materials I would use, artists I would reference as examples, activities I would do with them and how I would engage them.
We also discussed the possibility of an Arts discovery award if enough children attend. We also looked at The National Gallery and their ‘picture of the month’ which engages children to think about the art, the story behind it, the emotions conveyed etc. Currently, Claude-Joseph Vernet’s ‘A Shipwreck in Stormy seas’. They are accepting work in response to the piece until 31 Oct 2022.
Worked with Jess Egan on marketing and communications.
I was shown the process of completing a social media post. I learnt about what draws the customer in, what is eye-catching and how to reach the desired audience with hashtags.
I was then shown press releases from the past. I looked at the main structure of the release and the things to include to inform the customer and hook them in.
Then I worked on my own press release advertising my summer school/ workshop that I had discussed the previous day. Following the structure of previous press releases I drafted one up and aimed to use creative language to express what it is about and to cater to my target audience: parents.
I then mind-mapped ideas for the name of the workshop that communicated the intent and was fun and creative so it appeared to children. I came up with ‘the faces we paint’ – something simple that explains what the class is about. Towards the end of the day, I was taught how to use the badge-making press and I designed and made a badge of my own which I really enjoyed.
Worked with Stephanie Max on the organisation and keeping of the shop.
I started by checking the art around the gallery and making sure they all had displayed prices if they were for sale. I wrote two tags with the price and then the initials of the artist and made sure they were easily seen next to the piece.
I then ran an errand- photocopying press releases for the display in YAS. I had to use money from the till which meant that with the change, I was taught how the money in and out was recorded. I also learnt how the card machine worked and how they record what percentages of the profit go to the gallery and what to the artist.
I was taught a bit more about the history of YAS and more about the shop, for example, it used to be a pop-up shop, which is different to managing a permanent one. Also about the changes in the shop display, the actual composition of the gallery, and how to display art so the environment caters to customers.
I was taught a bit about spreadsheets and how they are used to record orders and receipts and how YAS store their information on drive with collaborative folders.
Spent the day with Zoe Li.
I started out the day by cleaning the windows and sweeping the cobwebs to make the shop look presentable and welcoming. I then sat at the computer and wrote more of the summer school plan. What materials do we need, and a checklist of things I need to find out (for example: what Yeovil creatives are free and what they think they could add to the workshop). I then moved around some paintings in the gallery and put up new ones and wrote the price tags. It was interesting to see the effect that the composition of the works on the wall had on the general look of the shop and how customer-friendly it was. For example, you have to put the prices big and clear next to the works because the majority of customers don’t like to single themselves out to ask or find out. I then helped rearrange some of the furniture so that the walk space into the gallery is more inviting and accessible. I assisted in a display of booklets called ‘Creativity for Wellbeing’ and ‘Together We Are Stronger’ so that they are some of the first things people see when they walk in. I then swept up at the end of the day to keep the shop clean and presentable!
Today was my last day. I spent the day with Zoe Li and her daughter Jojo who helped out with me. I spent time talking to customers and potential business partners and got to know what they do for work and how to incorporate that into Yeovil Art Space. I then worked on a window sign advertising our exhibition ‘Celebrations’ – on until July 14th. We made it bright and colourful to attract people in to have a look. I was able to use creative skills and knowledge on how to use colour and pattern to make it stand out to passers-by. I then worked on typing up my reflection and filled out my health and safety form required by my college, and my feedback form to go back to college about my time here.
During my time at YAS, I was able to learn a lot about the skills and tasks involved in running a business and keeping on track with expenses, sales and upkeep of the shop. I also learned a lot about the history of YAS and how a business develops and grows. I also got to work and talk with many Yeovil-based artists and this was very beneficial for me as art is something I would like to take further in the future.
I feel like I was able to develop my listening, presenting, creativity and teamwork skills during my placement here and I can really see YAS developing further and spreading their artistic opportunities around Yeovil and possibly further. I would like to see more involvement in schools – a community like this is something that would have greatly inspired me as a child and I think it’s important for children to have access to creative exploration and a diverse variety of art styles and techniques.